Maria Stenstrom, Successful Leader in a #Digital world

Thank you for all the positive feedback on our series of interviews with leaders making a positive impact in the new complex and digital world. Many leaders feel less knowledgeable or involved in digital transformation and social media, why we believe it is important to take inspiration from some of the leaders embracing the digital opportunities, to understand more of their personal journey and get access to some of their insights.

Our next leader is Maria Stenstrom. Maria is the CEO Volkswagen Group Canada.

Maria is passionate about growing leaders and helping people become more of drivers and more courageous.

Maria’s journey to become a successful leader in a #Digitalfirst world

So how did Maria come into the executive leadership position she currently holds? Listen to her inspiring response (if the video does not open, you may watch it here);

Maria has had different kind of business experiences within the automotive industry. She has worked with general management, with global marketing but also with the product, with dealer development, and with aftersales. Most important of all is to be able, and to be interested, in working with people and to lead through people. Maria has had a very international career working first in Sweden, then working ten years in France, five years in Belgium, two years in Germany, and she has assumed global roles from Headquarter leading the global marketing and has also carried Asia market responsibilities. There are many routes that take you into leadership positions in the digital world, and once again, we find that being passionately curious and embrace risk and wanting to lead through people will be critical to move you forward in this new world. Which #Digital Trends, Businesses and Leaders to monitor? Which trends and examples of businesses and leaders does Maria believe we should keep our eyes on going forward? Listen to her insights here (if the video does not open, you may watch it here):

Maria believes that automotive is the next industry to become digitized, and she hopes that companies that I lead and coach will help take the industry to the next level (thanks Maria for the trust, I will certainly support!).

She is herself inspired by very different but indeed courageous women. She mentions Malala, as well as a 92 years old friend who had to overcome so many challenges, travelling the world and having lot of life experiences. Maria believes that it is about the personality that makes you inspiring and successful.

Give and get inspiration and value through networks

What networks does Maria believe will bring value to both to her as well as to her business? Don’t miss out on Marias response to our final question – which furniture she would be (if the video does not open, you may watch it here)…

Maria shares that she attended the Swedish female executive leadership program “Ruter Dam” twenty years ago.  The year group she belongs to have kept close contact over the years, and has conducted yearly meetings as well as kept in contact over the years, something that has supported Maria in developing her achievements within business, keeping in contact with her peers, partly also via digital networks, and follow others in their professional development.

There is no doubt that social networks, both digital and in real life, are increasingly important for us in both our business and private life.

Maria gets inspired when she manages to get leaders to buy into the vision, when she influences through people and help people become more of drivers, being more courageous and having success.

Finally, being a furniture, Maria would be ……… a round table! She chose the round table because you have more contact with all around the table and there is also room for one more. I believe this nicely explains Marias view on leadership and why she has always been so successful!

How to become more #digitallyInvolved

To get more insight of what Maria knows and shares, why don’t you become acquainted with some of the interesting developments they have at AUDI where Maria is employed.

The automotive industry is indeed experiencing some major digital transformations. If you like to explore deeper, there is an interesting report named “World Car Trends 2015 – Connected Mobility and Digital Lifestyle” by Prime Research that you can find here.

In the twitter space you might want to follow @AudiCanada ,  The host of @Automotive_News Jennifer Vuong here @first_shift  or finally Brian Pasch at @automotiveseo and advisor in the automotive digital space.

Inspiring courageous leaders making a difference in the world is definitely the youngest ever Nobel prize laureate Malala, so why don’t you follow and contribute to the @MalalaFund .

Another program that made a major difference on Maria was the Swedish female leadership program Ruter Dam – you can find the founder and CEO of Ruter Dam tweeting in Swedish here @GunillaArhen

We believe it is important to share insights from inspiring #digitalfirst thought leaders, if you are one of them or know someone we should talk to, please send us a hint via or via twitter @digoshen .

These interviews are shared both on my own blog as well as on the blog of Digoshen, where I am CEO.

At Digoshen we believe that Companies, Boards and Business Leadership Teams need to understand more of the digital world to fully leverage the potential when bringing their business into the digital age.

We provide inspiration and support to help transition business leaders into more insightful digital positions for themselves and their companies.

Follow us on twitter: @digoshen , CEO @katycaroan and Chairman @liseeng